(Flavor) Tripping the night away…

When I was little, one of my favorite movies was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I thought for sure that someone would be able to recreate those cool sounding treats that he made. Sure, they eventually came out with Everlasting Gobstoppers (and yes, I like them)- but they didn’t look nearly as cool as they did in the movie. I didn’t exactly find my flavored wallpaper this weekend, but I did get to do something completely Wonka-esque. The Houston Chowhounds, a local group of foodies who get together for various eating events , organized a Flavor Tripping Party that was open to the public. A $35 wristband bought you one miracle berry, a fruit that promises to temporarily alter your taste buds to make everything taste sweeter, and a vast spread of food and alcohol. The food items included: goat cheese, greek yogurt, kim chee, an assortment of vinegars and mustards, hummus, tomatillos, grape tomatoes, Sour Patch Kids, and lemon and lime wedges. There was also an open bar with several choices of mixed drinks, and plenty of beer on tap- the most popular choice being Guinness.

Flavor tripping sign

Miracle Berry

Flavor Tripping spreadThe spread (no, that is not my hairy arm)

Here is my verdict: I took the miracle berry and scraped the pulp off of the seed and swished it around my mouth for two minutes. They say the effects can kick in immediately, or 10-15 minutes later. I tried my luck right away with the greek yogurt, which is supposed to taste like custard if the berry works. No dice. I sampled various other things from the table, and couldn’t tell a difference in anything- until I got to the lemon. It still tasted like a lemon, but it was sweet enough that I was able to actually eat it (like you would eat an orange wedge). Oddly enough, the lime still tasted like a regular old lime. Not something I’d really enjoy eating on its own. I was just about to brand this a failure, when I noticed that they had a table set up to sell miracle berry tablets, which are supposed to equal three miracle berries. I bought one tablet, grabbed a cup of Guinness, and got back into the food line. I noticed the difference immediately. The Guinness tasted like alcoholic chocolate milk- which is a pretty cool trick for something I usually can’t stand (sorry, Irish roots). The line to get to the food table was endless by the time I got back in it, so I was worried that the effects would wear off by the time I got a fresh plate of food. Luckily, there were people floating around with serving dishes of lemon and lime wedges. I tried a lime again, and to my delight, it tasted like lime sorbet! Lemons were even better this time around, and when I got to the main food table, I grabbed some vinegar soaked crackers, grape tomatoes, pomegranate seeds, Sour Patch Kids, greek yogurt, goat cheese, hummus, and tomatillos. Red wine vinegar tasted more like a balsamic, goat cheese did in fact taste like icing, and grape tomatoes tasted more like grapes than tomatoes. The only things that never reacted with the berry were the Sour Patch Kids.

PlatePlate #1

All in all, it was a super neat experience. It was fun to see how many adventurous eaters there are in the Houston area. It definitely encouraged me to attend more Chowhound sponsored events. I see they are planning a taco truck crawl sometime early next year. Hmm…

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